What we’ve got here is…failure to communicate

Written by: Mike, Thursday, October 1, 2009 7:34


The NBA recently announced they were following in several other industries footsteps by banning any social networking use by players, coaches, and other staff alike. At first, many will come to believe it’s to prevent embarrassing situations and outbursts. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth and anyone with a grain of intelligence knows it. It really comes down to a simple explanation — Greed!

At first, protecting the NBA’s reputation, individual teams, and players themselves seems like a rather noble effort. Human nature isn’t always the best in regards to decency and common sense so why not take a few measures to put on the best face possible? The problem with it is that it’s a blatant cover up.

Sports leagues, TV networks, and TV providers all have multi-million dollar deals between one another giving one person exclusive content over team A while another network gets something special from team b and so on. Like wise, TV providers have certain exclusive deals with various networks which further bolsters this close knit community. You see, money makes the world go ’round and is the only thing these franchises, leagues, networks, and providers care about. Bummed because a big game isn’t on TV in your area? The people responsible for bringing it to you could care less. You’re nothing to them except a paycheck. It’s that sense of entitlement, that sense of “We’re better than you because you need us” that pisses so many people off.

With the internet has come countless new opportunities for money to be made, ventures to be pursued, partnerships to be created. Many new companies have started up in the digital age. On the other hand, some have been around for years, even decades and are still new to this whole digital phenomenon. That age is killing the industry. What industry? Media. Big media. TV and print media are suffering all time lows in readers and revenue because the internet and digital information has made getting what you want, whenever you want incredibly inexpensive. People want to know things. Flipping open a phone or firing up a computer and literally having the world at your fingertips is immensely powerful. So powerful in fact big media is scared to death because they are failing on all accounts.

The last few months have seen increasingly strict crackdowns on sports leagues and their members’ uses of social networking before, during, and after games. While one could again make the weak argument that it helps “protect” the various leagues and their constituents, greed again is the real motivator. All of those exclusive partnerships, contracts, and “inside info” has cost various people and companies millions upon millions of dollars. They couldn’t possibly let some “insignificant” player in the lockeroom typing up a storm on Twitter ruin their pre/post-lockeroom segments because he spilled the details on the interwebs. That instant communication ability is powerful. The networks, providers, and everyone else in between know this. Yet they still seem to think blocking innovation and technological advancement is going to help them protect their earnings and possibly even let them grow.

This thinking and ideology couldn’t be further from the truth. The NBA sadly is following what so many are starting to accept as mainstream by blocking social networking of any type by just about anyone affiliated with the team or network. Do they honestly believe that some NBA player’s Twitter feed is going to cause mass amounts of people to stop paying for season tickets, special pre/post game content, etc.? It boggles my mind how people this out of touch with reality who have absolutely no clue how to innovate an older company or business into a 21st century and beyond tech haven. Digital is the way of the future — and not digital reinforced with umpteen paywalls and various other consumer raping “technologies” such as DRM. It’s simple really. Create value and people will pay. NOT the other way around. Slapping a price tag on an object or service doesn’t instantly make it valuable. Sadly so many in big business fail to understand this extremely basic concept.

Blocking free speech and the free flow of information goes against the very reasons the internet was invented. These people who try to prevent it are only digging their own graves. Eventually consumers and users who want that information will revolt. I believe it was “The Captain” from the 1967 movie “Cool Hand Luke” who said it best (of course out of context):

…what we’ve got here is…failure to communicate…

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